Money Pit on the Potomac

July was a tough month for the Pentagon. The Washington Post revealed that three U.S. special operations soldiers died in Mali when their vehicle plunged off a bridge with three Moroccan prostitutes in the vehicle at the time. The special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction issued one of his final reports on U.S. reconstruction efforts in that country and estimated that $6 billion to $8 billion of the $51 billion spent on reconstruction was likely wasted, embezzled, or misplaced. The inspector general’s investigations have produced 90 indictments, 72 convictions, and $177 million in fines and other penalties, with the highest percentage of convictions coming against military officers and defense contractors. Worse still, this came not long after the bean counters at the Government Accountability Office had issued yet another damning report on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, finding that the cost estimate for developing the F-35 had jumped an additional $15 billion since 2010.

This article was originally published in Foreign Policy.